Hutchinson: Washington is failing in the face of immigration crisis. Here’s what to do right now to fix the border.

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Congress needs to provide the necessary tools to stop border crisis and Biden needs to work with Mexico

OPINION - Gov. Asa Hutchinson

With its ruling to keep Title 42 in place, our nation’s high court granted the American people temporary relief from the Biden administration’s consistent pattern of misguided decisions. Yet the Supreme Court’s ruling did nothing to resolve the crisis at our southern border.

The security of our southern border — and the safety of Americans in border regions — has declined drastically by the day since President Joe Biden took office. Recent statistics show the number of unlawful border crossings has increased, with Border Patrol agents reporting nearly 8,000 apprehensions daily.

Legal immigration is the foundation of our diverse and prosperous society. However, the illegal crossing of individuals directly undermines our institutions and public safety and threatens the well-being of our children. The immediate, lethal threat of illicit drugs and human trafficking compounds this ongoing erosion of stability. The Biden administration’s lack of leadership on this crisis is an injustice to the American people and the many hopeful immigrants making their way from Central and South America. We have a moral imperative to address this issue without delay.

The Supreme Court’s ruling to temporarily uphold Title 42 is a stop-gap solution to this administration’s failures. Ultimately, Biden’s inconsistency in a southern border policy is responsible for the health and safety emergency we now face. His recent decision to visit the southern border for the first time since 2008 is simply too little too late.

Migrants under a bridge at the Rio Grande near the Del Rio-Acuna Port of Entry in Del Rio, Texas, in 2021. (Getty Images)

There is a path forward. We must recognize the need for immediate and attainable first steps and a long-term solution. Comprehensive immigration reform is out of reach until the American people have confidence that sufficient action has been taken to protect our southern border. In other words, we are upholding the rule of law. Our immediate action to take is to pass laws and budget resources to strengthen border security.

Once the battle for Speaker of the House is settled, the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives should start working on border security-focused legislation to replace Title 42. A one-size-fits-all approach will not suffice; combining different resources, strategies, and tactics is critical. This includes investing in recruiting and training more Border Patrol agents and providing the equipment and technology essential to their success. We must also ensure that non-agency resources — such as aircraft, drones and National Guard units — are readily available.

Concurrently, Biden must engage with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to undertake issues originating on the Mexican side of the border that adversely impact both Americans and those in pursuit of a better life in our country.

The Mexican government must welcome U.S. assistance in its mission to quell the cartels. And we should ensure those who bring evil across our borders and sow criminality throughout our country are proportionately punished, which is why I propose empowering our prosecutors to charge individuals with murder if they are accused of supplying drugs that lead to fentanyl-related deaths. Until we make it known that the cartels will be held accountable, we cannot expect to stem the flood of drugs, weapons and bad actors.

The American system of government has three branches for a reason: to ensure there are checks and balances, but also to ensure that the American people and their interests are always protected. If our leaders refuse to defend the American people, we should expect and demand that our justice system will.

Washington, D.C. is failing in the face of crisis, but the American people should not lose hope. The problems we face at the southern border are not so far out-of-hand that they cannot be solved, but only with the employment of effective, bold, and clear leadership.

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